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CARITAS to Install Largest Solar Power System at any Nonprofit in Virginia

More than 1,000 Heliene brand photovoltaic solar panels will be installed starting in Spring 2020 on the roof of the CARITAS Center. The 427 Kilowatts of Solar Arrays Will Save an Estimated $427,000 in Energy Costs.

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CARITAS has signed an agreement with Secure Futures Solar of Staunton to install and operate the largest solar power system at any facility for a non-profit organization in Virginia. Solar arrays on the new CARITAS Center now under construction will provide a total capacity of 427 kilowatts of clean energy, estimated to cut the organization’s electric utility bills by $427,000 over the next 25 years.

More than 1,000 Heliene brand photovoltaic solar panels will be installed starting in Spring 2020 on the roof of the CARITAS Center currently being renovated in the Southside area of Richmond. The solar energy system is expected to cover a substantial portion of the new facility’s energy use by generating enough clean energy to power the equivalent of 72 average homes and to offset 464 tons of carbon dioxide pollution.

According to data on solar installations registered with the Virginia State Corporation Commission, the solar arrays at the CARITAS Center will have the largest capacity of any solar energy system located on a building or elsewhere at the location of a non-profit organization in Virginia. As of 2016, Virginia hosted nearly 38,000 nonprofit organizations delivering vital community services, according to consultancy Independent Sector.

“Innovation is one of our core values at CARITAS,” said President & CEO Karen Stanley. “As we move ahead bringing this bold vision for the CARITAS Center to life, it is important that we integrate new energy solutions into our project. We hope we can lead the way as other nonprofits bring solutions like this to life in their communities.”

Secure Futures will install solar energy equipment at no upfront capital cost to CARITAS and will operate the system under a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement. Over that term, CARITAS will buy all the electricity generated by the solar panels located on site from Secure Futures at a cost lower than typically available. CARITAS will use a $17,000 grant from the RVA Solar Fund, administered by the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond.

“CARITAS is walking the talk in linking clean energy to community service in Virginia, ” said Anthony Smith, president and CEO of Secure Futures. “Rooftop solar will cut their electric bills, making more resources available for their most vulnerable neighbors break the cycles of homelessness and addiction to reclaim their lives.”

When renovation of the former warehouse facility is completed later in 2020, the CARITAS Center will feature 150,000 square foot of space to house an emergency shelter, a substance-use recovery program for women, 47 apartments for people transitioning out of homlessness, a workforce development center, a furniture bank, and the organization’s administrative offices.

The decision to add solar power at the new facility is consistent with the commitment of CARITAS to effective stewardship of resources that are both financial and ecological. The building will also incorporate about 45 solar tubes, which will filter natural light throughout the Center. Other appliances are ENERGY STAR certified to manage usage and costs. Toilets in the bulding will also feature automatic shut off functions.

CARITAS helps our most vulnerable neighbors break the cycles of homelessness and addiction to reclaim their dignity. For more than 30 years, CARITAS has been providing effective, permanent solutions to individuals and families dealing with the crisis of homelessness and/or substance use disorders in the Metro Richmond area. Its four programs include Emergency Shelter, the Furniture Bank, CARITAS Works, and The Healing Place. Through these four programs, CARITAS provides men and women with the tools to make a successful transition to dignity and self-sufficiency.  You can learn more on the organization’s website at www.caritasva.org.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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Community

Tour de Fall Line Donation Based this Year

The RVAMore website isn’t up to date with the new race information yet but I’m sure will be available soon.

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RVA More’s Tour de Fall Line is back but a little different this year. All proceeds directly benefit rvaMORE to help enhance your outdoor experience on our local trails.

The entry fee is WAIVED.

Our only request is that you stop by the rvaMORE tent, say hello and drop 20 bucks into the trail fund wheelbarrow.

This event has been our premier fundraiser for a number of years; but without the aid stations, food, music, and beverages, we
elected to go with optional donations rather than an entry fee.

What to expect: You can choose to ride whatever distance you want and start at any point along the route. As always, GPS maps will be available for download.

The full course will be marked by volunteers. There will be no aid stations.

This is a ride of fun and self-sufficiency – the DNA of MTB riding.

Bring your friends or enjoy a solo soul ride for the day.

We’ll be hanging out all day.

We sincerely hope you can join us for a day of celebrating our city trail system!

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Community

Westover Hills Boulevard Death Investigation

There was a fatal shooting in the 400 block of Westover Hills Boulevard on Sunday.

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RPD reporting the following:

At approximately 9:53 p.m. (Sunday, October 24th), Richmond Police responded to the 400 block of Westover Hills Boulevard for the report of a shooting. Officers arrived and located an adult male with an apparent gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Medical Examiner will determine cause and manner of death.

Anyone with information about this death investigation is asked to call Major Crimes Detective A. Coates at (804) 646-0729 or contact Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000. The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smartphones also may be used. All Crime Stoppers reporting methods are anonymous.

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48 Hrs Store Now Has Zero Hours

Sometime over the weekend the local convenience store closed for good.

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The plan dear readers were to swing by this weekend and ask what was up after reading various rumors about the fate of the little store that many folks have a love/hate relationship with. My timing was poor because I was greeted by the scene above. A quick check of the property records doesn’t list a recent change and there aren’t any permits on the door indicating work. The planned work on the adjacent strip of stores doesn’t include the 48 Hrs Store.

So let’s go straight to the rumors.

The most credible from two second-hand sources is that the store will reopen under new management.

Someone has also floated a vape shop moving in.

The store was never pretty but the owners, when they were in town, were super nice. It was for many years our go-to spot for beer and chips. That was about all we bought there, beer and chips.

We’ll keep an eye out and update if we get anything beyond a rumor.

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